Technology ID

Monitoring Public Water Supply for a Variety of Pathogens

Lead Inventor
Hill, Vincent (CDC)
Cummings, Eric
Fintschenko, Yolanda
Simmons, Blake
Research Materials
Occupational Safety and Health
Non-Medical Devices
Medical Devices
Consumer Products
Therapeutic Areas
Infectious Disease
Development Stages
Pre-Clinical (in vitro)
Research Products
Research Equipment
Lead IC
The simultaneous concentration and recovery of microbes in drinking water is important for responding to potential water-related events such as pathogen contamination or bioterrorism and could be a cost-effective technique for routine monitoring of drinking water quality. Scientists at the CDC have combined two techniques, ultrafiltration (UF) and insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) in series, to achieve significant concentration of microbes and pathogens for analysis. UF can concentrate a water sample =200X, depending on turbidity; if a secondary concentration step is applied, then a =25,000X can be achieved. Research has shown that UF can be an effective technique for simultaneously concentrating viruses, bacteria, and parasites in larger samples of drinking water. A second technique, the iDEP system, is known to be capable of capturing, concentrating, and separating microbes in very small water samples. The combination of UF with iDEP holds potential promise for allowing water utilities and associated industries to accurately detect low levels of pathogens in drinking water samples. This technology has the capability to separate live from non-viable microbes, thereby decreasing the chances of generating false-positive PCR results due to the presence of free nucleic acid or non-viable microbes.
Commercial Applications
  • Monitoring of municipal, commercial, public, and individual water supplies for drinking water quality
  • Monitoring source water, industrial effluent, hospital discharge, and military water infrastructures for pathogens
  • Assessing water in agricultural settings
  • Monitoring water quality in pools and other recreational settings
Competitive Advantages
  • A rapid method for detecting the presence of a variety of microbes such as Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts and Enterococcus faecalis
  • Uses a combination of ultrafiltration and dielectrophoretic separation techniques versus available single method technology
  • Ability to separate live from non-viable microbes, thereby decreasing the chances of generating false-positive PCR results due to the presence of naked nucleic acid or non-viable microbes
  • Accurately assess low levels of pathogens in finished drinking water samples, whether due to natural or intentional contamination
Licensing Contact:
Mitzelfelt, Jeremiah